Yemeni Proverbs for All Occasions [Archives:2001/26/Culture]

June 25 2001

Saad Shareef Taher 
Teacher of English 
Yemeni proverbs, are the vital facet of the Yemeni culture because they are the spoken tongue of their daily public activities. They are the mirror that reflects simple people’s thinking by which their daily life, habits and customs are truly expressed. They are the live records of politics, agriculture and wisdom throughout history. One can grasp through them minute details of the simple Yemeni society and have an actual picture of whatever is in their mind. From the large number of such proverbs extent I’ve chosen some glittering stars. 
Proverbs That concern women 

1- (amya tkhadhib majanona wal dawra tssama) 
Meaning: A blind woman dyes a mad one with henna and a deaf one listens. 
comment: It is contradictory. 
Implication: A person complains while no one is with him / her. To describe this situation. 
2- (almara mara walau zammara) 

Meaning: A woman is a woman even if she blows the pipe. 
Comment: The woman will still be looked at as a woman even if she does what men do, like blowing pipe or shouting. 
Implication: A negative view of the showy women. 
3- (men ad ummuh mahed yhummuh) 

Meaning: He who stands by his mother cares for no one. 
Implication: When a person is supported by a powerful person, he will never feel frightened. Mother’s care gives one strength. 
4- (ma ammala tihib ammala) 

Meaning: A woman bread-seller never loves another. 
Comment: In market, people of the same trade envy and compete with each other. 
Implication: Envy / Jealousy (especially among women) 
5- (Men seber bakhtaha dhahakit ala ikhtaha) 

Meaning: She who guarantee her fortune (to marry) makes fun of (single) sister. 
Implication: A person who wins fortune makes fun of poor people. 
Proverbs Concerning work 
1. (men dammah nukhrutu gal gaddo haddad) 

Meaning: He who soots his nose pretends he is a smith. 
Comment: People shouldn’t be cheated by appearance. 
Implication: A person shows off what he doesn’t control. 
2. (dakhhil iyduk il sanafa wala tagool iddi li) 

Meaning: Put your hand on thorns but never put it to beg. 
Comment: It is better to work hard, even with thorns than to beg alms. 
Implication: Urging people to work and not to beg. 
3. (sahib il mehretin kaththab) 

Meaning: He who has all jobs is a liar. 
Comment: It is similar to “jack of all trades but master of none”Implication: A person who practices many trades gets excellence in nothing. 
4. (saah lirabbi wa saah ligalbi wa saah nsalli ala alnabi) 

Meaning: An hour for my lord, other for my heart and in a third we bless the Prophet. 
Comment: It is better to divide your time and spend it usefully. 
Implication: A person who spends time haphazardly should be careful about proper utilization of time. 
5. (sheiba wi yahshil) 

Meaning: Though he is an old man, he burns fire (plays like children) 
Comment: Some old people, behave childishly. 
Implication: Makes fun of an old man who never cares for his age and its requirements. 
Related to marriage 

1. (zawij al aajam yifsah)

Meaning: By marriage even the fool understands. 
Implication: An adolescent behaves randomly, his parents are advised to marry him to make him stable. 
2. (La mizawaj sili wala aza mistreeh) 

Meaning: Neither the married are happy nor the single are comfortable. 
Implication: Different people suffer from life differently.  
3. (Hareewah bil markib yialam Allah limen tuktab) 

Meaning: A bride in the procession; God knows to whom she will be wedded. 
Comment: Fate, sometimes, betrays people. An example, bride being sent to her groom’s house in a procession but unexpectedly something happens (like death) 
Implication: Talking of Fate or when many people apply for a job and wait for chance.